Governance and Rural Development in Mexico: State Intervention and Public Accountability

Jonathan Fox

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43 Scopus citations


Pro-market economic reforms are usually associated with the regulatory withdrawal of the state. In some policy areas, however, successful implementation of pro-market reforms poses powerful challenges to the institutional capacity of the state. In the case of Mexico's ambitious rural development reforms, the withdrawal of past patterns of heavy-handed state economic intervention has been accompanied by the construction of new regulatory institutions that maintain significant central state involvement in rural life. This article analyses the restructuring of state intervention in four policy areas: rural economic development, decentralisation to rural municipalities, efforts to improve the administration of justice, and the electoral process in rural areas. The first two sets of reforms are influenced by the second two: economic development and decentralisation are influenced by the administration of justice and democratisation. The governance challenges posed by the complexity of the rural economic policy reforms are compounded by the persistent political constraints on the construction of more accountable public institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Municipal Funds programme's rural focus was bolstered by supplemental funding from a World Bank loan, the 'Decentralisation and Regional Development Project', targeted to Mexico's four poorest states, which allocated approximately 30 per cent to Municipal Funds. The


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